Different world


Taking public transportation has the distinct advantage of exposing me to areas of the American culture I'm not completely in tune with. The train ride to the airport, although similar to the train ride out with the mix of people frome bums to young people, scrawny to beyond obese, gorgeous to butt-ugly, was interestingly more pleasant than the ride out from the airport.

Instead of catching the red train from the convention center, I caught the blue, and took it to where the two line separated. Near the exchange point, a black man came by and asked for my change. His request was different from most change requests I normally get: his eyes were missing the usual "deranged" (in quotes, because that's not quite the right word) look, his manner wasn't desperate, and he was softspoken. When I gently shook my head no, he nodded thanks and moved on.

I watched him for a moment, and did something I rarely ever do: I dug the change out of my backpack and handed it to him as he walked back to the back of the car. He nodded thanks again.

The change wasn't much: maybe fifty cents. Money I would most likely never miss. At least I sincerely hope I would never miss.

The change started me thinking: I had one hundred dollars in my backpack from a trip to the ATM yesterday. It was my lunch and spending money for the week. Would I miss twenty of it? Handing it to a beggar wouldn't be the best use of it, but losing twenty dollars isn't any better.

I dug the twenty out of the back of my pack, folded it into eighths, and handed it to the man as he was eying a woman's three bags of recycling.

He didn't realize it was a twenty, but saw that it was paper, and thanked me. A minute later, recyclables in hand, he came up to me to thank me again.

Would he spend that money on drugs? Would he buy alcohol or cigarettes? Would he buy something I generally disapproval of, or something he needed.

I decided I didn't care.

If he needed that cigarette to get him through the day, then that's what he needed to spend his money on. Because it was his money now to spend.

Never a dull moment


I needed water.

It wasn't that big of a deal, but the first cooler was empty. Then the second one. And the next one and the next one. These tech people sure could drink their water.

One of the coolers had a full bottle of water next to it. It was only five gallons. I've lifted these things before. No big deal.

I warned the guy next to me that if I missed, I'd spill water on his electrical cord, he was forewarned.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

I flipped the bottle over, hefted it up, and let it drop into the waiting neck cup.

I didn't move my fingers out fast enough.

I dropped the bottle on my finger caught in the cup edge and crushed it. The lip of the cup is about a sixteenth of an inch wide, and set right at the end of the bed of my middle finger.

It hurt an unbelievably large amount. It bled for about forty-five minutes after the crushing.

About an hour after the incident, my mom IM'd me to chat. I was typing oddly, so she asked about it. I explained I was missing my left middle finger, and why.

"Never a dull moment with you, kiddo."

Kris told me I should just give people the finger and tell them, I crushed my finger, and "IT'S THIS ONE!"

I like his suggestion.

Smells like Bella's butt


My first tutorial of OSCON 2006. I wander into the conference room, look around, find a seat, plunk my computer down and notice the smell.

The room is musty, humid, and smells like Bella's butt.

And I'm in here for another 3 hours.


Using the VoA


After a struggle to wake in the morning, I finally made it to the airport for my fifth quickest trip turn around, heading out to Portland today for OSCON 2006. I had managed to sleep fairly well, if shortened hours, waking only to hear Kris yell, "Stop her!" at me, referring to Bella, who was eating the remains of Heather's underwear she had just thrown up. I'm not sure which was more amazing: that I managed to miss the first 6" round pile of vomit on my way around the bed to Bella, or that the vomit covered elastic band was actually tasty enough to her to re-eat. I had the distinct displeasure of pulling half of it from out of her throat by grabbing the other end and pulling.

Yeah. Good times.